Dear Alumni, Faculty, and Friends,
We hope you enjoy this edition of the NEEC newsletter! In this issue, we feature the accomplishments of our wonderful graduating residents and fellows! You will also find profiles of our graduation speakers, Dr. Audina “Nina” Berrocal and Dr. Cynthia Mattox, both of whom are NEEC alumni. We have included highlights from the graduation ceremony.
We would love to hear from our alumni with any of your own updates or suggestions for future newsletter features. Please keep in touch at [email protected].
-Astrid Werner, Laurel Vuong, and Vicki Chen
Note from the Chairman:
The 31st Annual New England Eye Center Graduation took place on Friday June 25, 2021. It was unique in many ways but the most obvious was its hybrid nature. Three weeks prior to the date, we were informed that we could have a live graduation ceremony here on campus. It was great to be in a room together to share in this milestone for our graduates, while at the same time allowing family members, alumni, and other interested people participate in the ceremony remotely via Zoom. It’s a new world in many ways but the success of our graduating residents and fellows is very much “old school” – dedication to patients, to learning, and to society as a whole. We wish them well and are confident they will have a lasting impact wherever they practice.
-Jay Duker, MD
Chairman of Ophthalmology at the Tufts Medical Center
Congratulations to the Class of 2021!
NEEC Residents and Fellows celebrated graduation on June 25, 2021
We celebrated the graduation of a total 19 residents and fellows this year! We are immensely proud of their accomplishments and hard work.
Melina Morkin, MD was awarded this year’s Resident Teaching Award
Dr. Melina Morkin was awarded the resident teaching award in 2021. In only her second year of practice, Dr. Morkin is the youngest attending to have received this award in Tufts Ophthalmology history!
Graduating resident Christine Shen, MD was awarded the Charles J. Preefer Award for her work in quantifying and reducing the carbon footprint of cataract surgery.
Audina Berrocal, MD gave this year’s Lahav Lecture at the 2021 Tufts Ophthalmology Graduation
Profile by Thomas Hedges, MD.
Audina, “Nina” Berrocal gave a great Lahav Lecture at the 2021 Tufts Ophthalmology Resident Graduation. She is Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at the University of Miami and Director of Pediatric Retina at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. She has written numerous papers and book chapters, and has been invited to give many presentations nationally and internationally. Among her many honors and awards, she received the Benadette Foundation Award for her work on retinopathy of prematurity, the ASRS Crystal Apple Award for dedication to surgical teaching and the Bernice Z. Brown Lecture Award for her dedication to the advancement of women in ophthalmology.
Nina has had, and continues to maintain, diverse connections with the New England Eye Center and Tufts Medical School. She was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her father, Jose Berrocal was an internationally respected ophthalmologist and, perhaps one of the earliest of Nina’s connections to Tufts, was that Jose and my father were great friends. They both loved to play tennis (Jose had aridiculously lethal, sky-high, lob shot), and they both loved to party. Nina, her brother, and her sister Maria were encouraged by Jose to be high achievers. Maria was a North American junior chess champions. Nina preferred tennis, apparently. While Maria went to Bryn Mar and then on to medical school, Nina went to Princeton and, fortunately for us, Tufts Medical School. It was while at Princeton, Nina made another connection to Tufts, then unknown to her. She became friends with classmate, Jean Keamy, who would later join Nina at Tufts during their residency. It was during her medical school years, and later during residency, that I was able to get to know Nina. Her curriculum vitae lists over 230 peer reviewed papers, several of them co-written with members of NEEC faculty. And, Nina has continued to collaborate with members of our group over the years. I know that we can all be proud of all of Nina’s accomplishments in the field of pediatric retina, especially on retinopathy of prematurity and genetic therapy, and her work with her sister on the ophthalmic complications of the Zika virus. We have been most impressed with her willingness to use her boundless energy to speak up and write about woman’s issues in ophthalmology. Indeed, she shares with our own Caroline Baumal membership among the elite women on The Ophthalmologist Power List.
Cynthia Mattox, MD gave this year’s W. Morton Grant Lecture at the 2021 Tufts Ophthalmology Graduation
Dr. Cynthia Mattox gave this year’s W. Morton Grant lecture, entitled “Big Data: Ophthalmology Insights” in which she discussed the power of electronic health records-based big data sets and the IRIS registry. Dr. Mattox received her B.A. with honors from the University of Virginia, where she majored in English literature, followed by her MD at Medical College of Virginia (V.C.U.). After her Ophthalmology residency at Eastern Virginia School of Medicine, she completed her glaucoma fellowship at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. She then joined the faculty at Tufts – New England Eye Center in 1992. Dr. Mattox recently retired after 25 years of teaching and maintaining a busy referral surgical practice in the Department of Ophthalmology at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts, where she was the Director of the Glaucoma a nd Cataract Service of New England Eye Center. Dr. Mattox is actively involved with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, completing her term as a Trustee-at-Large in 2019, chair of the IRIS Registry Measure Development Task Force, a member of the IRIS Registry Executive Committee and Analytics Committee, and a past Associate Secretary for the Annual Meeting, as well as a member of the Academy’s Health Policy Committee for 15 years. Dr. Mattox served as the President of the American Glaucoma Society 2017-2018, and has held numerous leadership positions in the AGS. She received the Tufts Resident Teaching Award three times, the President’s Award from the AGS, as well as the Academy’s Outstanding Advocate Award, four Secretariat Awards, and the Senior Achievement Award. Dr. Mattox has been an invited lecturer and keynote speaker at many meetings, an author of numerous book chapters, and involved in clinical research. She now lives in Maui, HI.
Oh the places you’ll go! Our residents and fellows are off to new adventures. Read where each is heading next.
Christine hales originally from Parker, CO, and came to us at NEEC from Harvard College and the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. During her residency, Christine was known for her “contagious and effervescent energy whose presence in clinic is as energizing to those around her as a cup of strong coffee”. This tremendous energy was backed up by an impressive and ever-expanding fund of knowledge. Christine is also a born leader who helped guide and shape our residency’s response in the early phases of the pandemic. She will be departing Boston for the West Coast in July to pursue a fellowship in Uveitis at UCSF Proctor where we are confident that they will be equally impressed. Good luck Christine! We are proud of you, and will miss you
Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Jarod came to us from Tulane University and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. An avid sailor, Jarod was known as the “ballast” of our residency program, who kept the ship balanced, upright and headed in the right direction. No matter what walked in the door, Jarod would take it in stride, unfazed. His skill in the OR and clinic were good for his faculty’s collective blood pressure. Jarod apparently can’t get enough of us here at NEEC, as he will be staying on as our medical retina fellow for the coming academic year. We are very pleased to have him staying aboard! After completing his fellowship, Jarod hopes remain in the greater Boston area to practice. Good luck Jarod! We are proud of you, and fortunately, will not have to miss you just yet!
Eleni grew up in Athens, Greece where she attended medical school at the University of Athens School of Health Sciences. Before joining us at NEEC for ophthalmology residency, Eleni completed two post-doctoral research fellowships in retinal diseases at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an internship in general surgery at MGH. During residency, Eleni was known for being an absolutely tireless resident whose engine never stops. Program Director Kamden Kopani writes, “Eleni hit the ground running from day one, and has never flagged once. She never takes the easy way out, and those that know her are confident that there is nothing on this planet (or any other) that she cannot achieve if she sets her mind to it”. This coming year, Eleni will be doing a medical retina fellowship at National Eye Institute, National Institute of Health. Good luck Eleni! We are proud of you, and will miss you!
Gosia originally hales from Ostroleka, Poland, and attended Harvard College followed by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. During her residency at NEEC, Gosia was known for leading by example. Beneath a calm and unassuming surface lay an impressive degree of clinical acumen and skill that impressed our faculty from day one. She was as steadfast and reliable a resident as they come, trusted and valued by patients and faculty alike. In July, Gosia will be departing for the West Coast to pursue a fellowship in Glaucoma at Stanford’s Byers Eye Institute. Reflecting upon her time at NEEC, Gosia writes that she will “miss the camaraderie and the friends and mentors from all across the institution: the administration, clinic staff, my co-residents, fellows and attendings”, and that she looks “forward to applying everything I have learned in the last 3 years in the next stage of my training”. Good luck Gosia! We are proud of you, and we will miss you!
Devang has just completed a fellowship in Glaucoma in the joint Tufts-Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston program. He joined us from Albany Medical Center, where he completed both medical school and Ophthalmology residency in 2020. According to his fellowship directors, Devang proved himself to be a highly capable physician and surgeon, who was trusted and well-liked by patients and staff alike. He showed great resiliency during a chaotic year, and was a valued mentor and teacher to our residents and medical students. In addition to his clinical duties, Devang completed a retrospective study comparing outcomes in “stent-less” minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries. Perhaps most important among his accomplishments this past year was becoming a father to a baby boy born in October – a transition which he was able to balance extremely well despite a demanding fellowship schedule! Of his fellowship year, Devang writes “I enjoyed my fellowship year at Tufts/OCB—it was a great opportunity to learn new skills and refine my knowledge. I will miss all of the support staff and team, many of whom have become close friends!” Devang has joined The Eye Care Center of New Jersey. https://www.eyecarenj.com/our-doctors/devang-l-bhoiwala-m_d/. We wish Devang luck in his future endeavors, and we will miss him!
Geoff has just completed a fellowship in Glaucoma in the joint Tufts-Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston program. Geoff grew up in the greater Boston area, and returned to the area after completing his Ophthalmology residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical College in 2020. According to his fellowship directors, Geoff faced a fellowship year made especially challenging by the pandemic with equanimity and resiliency. He quickly became a valued member of the glaucoma team who cared for his patients with professionalism and skill, and showed a high degree of surgical and clinical aptitude. Geoff was a trusted mentor and teacher to our residents and medical students. Of his fellowship year, Geoff writes, “I want to thank everyone for making my time at Tufts and OCB enjoyable and memorable. I appreciate the kindness and generosity of spirit of all those with whom I had the pleasure of working.” Geoff will be departing for the West Coast, where he will be joining the Turner Eye Institute in San Leandro, CA. Good luck Geoff, we will miss you!
Dan has just completed a fellowship in Cornea in the joint Tufts-Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston program. Originally from New Jersey, Dan joined us after completing her Ophthalmology Residency at Albany Medical Center, where she was chief resident. One her faculty mentors writes, “We were very fortunate to have Dan as one of our cornea fellows. She not only had excellent clinical and surgical skills, she was beloved by her patients. One of my patients that she took care of while on call still talks about how grateful she is that Dan was her on-call doctor”. Of her fellowship year, Dan writes, “I’ll miss the feeling of camaraderie and team-work among everyone at Tufts and OCB when we all rally together to get through a hectic day!” Dan will be joining the Arinella-Williams practice in Worcester, MA. Good luck Dan, we will miss you!
Celine has just completed a fellowship in Cornea in the joint Tufts-Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston program. Originally from Pennsylvania, Celine is a graduate of Princeton University and Tulane University School of Medicine. Celine came to us from University of Minnesota where she completed her ophthalmology residency. According to her fellowship directors, among Celine’s most notable traits are her intelligence, her skill as surgeon, and her talent for finding the best places to eat in Boston. Of her fellowship year Celine writes: “I’ve really enjoyed my time at Tufts and OCB. I’ve learned so much this year from my amazing mentors, and I’ve become friends with my co-fellow, Dan, and many of the residents. I will miss our laser room hang outs, and I will use the many pearls I learned from each attending to guide my practice.” Celine will be joining Sight MD in Brooklyn, NY. We wish Celine the best of luck, and we will miss her!
Alyse has just completed her Medical Retina fellowship at NEEC. Alyse joined us from the University of Rochester where she completed her Ophthalmology residency. Her fellowship directors write, “Working with Alyse has been an absolute delight. Her ability to work towards a goal as a team was obvious from day one. Alyse is smart, hard-working and a great clinician, who never took the easy way out or shirked responsibility when it came to patient care. Of her own initiative, Alyse took on the task of revamping and streamlining the hospital’s system for ordering fortified topical and intravitreal antibiotics. This project will not only have a lasting impact on patient care at our hospital, it will also benefit future residents and fellows in years to come by simplifying the ordering process.” Of her time here at NEEC, Alyse writes “I will miss the whole team here at NEEC. I could not have asked for a better fellowship experience. Thank you to the all of the retina attendings for being such excellent academic and personal life mentors. I appreciate all that you’ve done for me. And, thank you to the retina staff: the nurses, technicians and photographers for being so helpful and kind during my time here, I will miss all of you.” We are happy to report that Alyse will be staying in the area, as she will be joining Eye Health Vision Centers in Dartmouth, MA as a comprehensive and medical retina specialist. Good luck Alyse, and we will miss you!
Karen has just completed a 2-year surgical retina fellowship at Tufts and Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston. Originally from New Jersey, Karen earned her AB in Chemistry at Princeton University, followed by a Master of Public Health (MPH) at Boston University that focused on international public health. Karen joined us after completing Medical School at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and ophthalmology residency at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Her fellowship directors write that Karen was a highly accomplished fellow both surgically and clinically, and also an accomplished researcher, having published many peer reviewed articles during her training. Of her fellowship, Karen writes “I will certainly miss the collaboration with my mentors, co-fellows and residents. I’ve learned so much from everyone and will miss the day-to-day exchange of ideas with everyone here.” We are happy to report that Karen will be staying relatively local as she is joining the Department of Ophthalmology at
UMass as a surgical retina specialist. https:// physicians.umassmemorial.org/details/4888/karen-jeng-miller-ophthalmology-northborough-worcester. We wish Karen the best of luck, and will miss her!
Adam has just completed a 2-year surgical retina fellowship at Tufts and Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston. Adam is originally from the Boston area, and earned his medical degree at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He completed a research fellowship and residency training in ophthalmology at New England Eye Center / Tufts University. An accomplished researcher, Adam has published numerous peer-reviewed studies in journals including Opthalmology, Retina, and Eye on the diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases. In addition to exhibiting great clinical acumen and surgical skills, Adam is described by his fellowship directors as an “unflappable” doctor who remains calm and collected in all circumstances. Of his time at Tufts-OCB, Adam writes, “It is hard to believe that I am leaving the New England Eye Center after 7 years! Fortunately, I will just be across town. I am tremendously grateful for the way I was welcomed when I first arrived as a visiting medical student and for all of the training, support and mentorship since that time. I will miss all of the amazing people and patients that have made Tufts such a great place to work. I will not miss the Biewend Building elevators”. Next year, Adam will be joining Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston
in the Boston, Cambridge and Danvers offices: https://www.eyeboston.com/doctor/adam-chin-md/. Good luck Adam, we will miss you!
A Special Thank you to Dr. David Reese
Dr. David Reese will retire from the Pediatric Ophthalmology Department.
Dr. Reese has been a valued long time member of the Tufts Pediatric Ophthalmology Department and was the first fellowship-trained pediatric ophthalmologist at Tufts Medical Center. We are grateful for his many contributions to the Eye Center and his commitment to growing the department through the years. Dr. Reese will stay on as an Emeritus member of the department so he can continue to make an impact through educational opportunities. We thank Dr. Reese for his many years of patient care and service to the department, and wish him all the best for the future!
Above: David Reese MD receiving an award from Dr. Jay Duker in recognition of his long service in the Pediatric Ophthalmology Department at Tufts.